Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Loving Embrace

Laura and I are project people. We are do-it-yourselfers.

We sit around and daydream about all the things we could be doing
with our house.
With our sidewalk.
With our back patio.
With our basement.
With the community garden.

And then?

Then, we sit on those ideas. For a while.

This weekend, our Lord embraced our (growing) family with His family. We had quite a few projects that needed completion before little man Twilley comes out of the womb, but we didn't have a ton of time with which to do it. So our friends (using just first names, if you are a friend - and you are reading this - let me know if you'd like your name to link somewhere such as another blog or web page or if you want me to include your last name) Dusty, Haley and Jason, Jason, Joanna and Zac, Justin, and Karen came along to help us paint, put up bookshelves, and add some nice touches to the basement.

Libations, snacks and dinner were provided, but those are a measly thanks for the amount of work that went into this past Saturday.

So... those people (or you, if you are one of those people and are currently reading this) are the physical manifestation of Christ in this world to us. It consistently amazes me that the link that we have to so many people in this city comes under the umbrella of a relationship with Jesus and that the same relationship would, in all likelihood, not exist apart from that umbrella.

Most of the people listed live in West Philadelphia (University City) - how would we have met them apart from meeting Jesus first? We have no business in U City except to worship on Sundays.

Jason met his wife Haley through a church here. I met Jason through his sister at my University. We (his sister and I) met because we were involved in a ministry together.

I have been accused, on many occasions, for over-spiritualizing things. However, I think I tend to over-think things more often than I over-spiritualize them. Part of the territory of believing in a God thats sovereign is believing that nothing exists without purpose (regardless of whether I know what the purpose of whatever exists is) so it's often hard for me to imagine a world where everything doesn't have a spiritual aspect to it (even while I still don't always behave as if I believe that).

We are thankful to our friends.
We are thankful for our friends.

There is a lot that happens in our neighborhood, our city, our country and our world that can have the tendency to overshadow the reality of Christ moving to remind us, who are undeserving, of his abundant mercies. There is a lot that I could dwell on (and that I do dwell on) in regard to poverty, oppression and the sin(s) that so easily entangle.

But Saturday was still a reminder that He is the God who lives.
That He cares.
That He loves His people.
That He loves us through His people.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Surreal Self Understanding

Have you ever seen the Dali (tried to do an accented 'i', sorry) painting, "The Persistance of Memory?" You probably have, but you might not know what it was - it's the one with the melting clocks (google it; you'll find it).

Sometimes, I kind of feel like that's my world, in a sense. Sometimes I wonder if the things that I perceive as normal are completely off by other people's standards.

Look, I'm not just talking about a difference of opinion.

A lot of these thoughts started off with my working through, and ultimately completing two semesters worth of Hebrew this summer. See, I used to think that I got languages. I went through four years of Spanish (well... at least four semesters - two in highschool, two in college) and performed relatively well without trying. I spent eight weeks in Belo Horizonte, Brasil and caught on to the language well enough to have (limited) conversations with people and to understand a bit of what they were saying to me.

I took Hebrew, and I was dashed to pieces.

To some of the folks that I've talked to, I've said that I have not depended on the Lord (intellectually) more than I have during the past two months. My weaknesses were made evident.

But I was thinking... even before this... that maybe I'm not nearly as intelligent as I once thought I was. There's a long history with this (coupled with a sense of destiny in regard to how I view my life - maybe another point for another time) that isn't too worth getting into now.

In one of my philosophy classes in college, I remember talking about color. I remember the discussion led into the fact that color comes at us in different frequencies of light - that wasn't worth debating. What we talked about (at that time... for that class period anyways) was how we know we're both seeing blue. What if my blues are reds and your blues are greens, but another person's blues are really blue? So... that's more of an existentialist type of thing, right? Because the definition of a thing is dependent on the person who defines it.

But what about a more metaphysical aspect. What if I see myself as something, but you and everyone else see me as something completely different. This is meant as no slander, but as an example - does a person with Down's Syndrome realize the effect of Down's? More to the point, is there an internal voice that says "I am different that what might be expected as "normal?"

Please hear me, I am not looking for affirmation from this. It's just something I've been thinking about for a little while.

All to say, I no longer believe that I am as intelligent as I once thought I was. That's kind of a drag. Ancient Hebrew helped me to see that. But existence kind of still begs a definition, right?

Who am I?
How am I wired?
What am I supposed to do?
How am I supposed to do that?
Why should I do anything?
What does "supposed to" mean in the prior statements?

(on a side note, feel free to correct my philosophical connotations of metaphysics and existentialism).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Open Call for Links

Hi friends, I posted this on facebook last night - but if you're in the business of sharing links, let me know and we can exchange (i.e. - I link to your blog, you link to mine).

Let me know!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I've posted a few pictures from the past winter. We received more snow that what we (or most Philadelphians) are accustomed to over the course of three or four snow storms.

The snow lasted for days.
There were streets that were never plowed (ours, for example).
People... started to go crazy.

And by crazy, I really mean that most people were living according to how they exist. That is people were afraid, so they protected what they had. People were selfish, so they hoarded what they had. People were greedy, so they took more than their portion.

When I say people here, I am not intending a universal sense of the word but one in which there was a large consensus of many who declared, "this is mine," in one way or another.

What I mean by all of this is that (for those who own vehicles) parking was hard. Some people resorted to "marking" their space by leaving various things to say, "this is mine!" I even heard of a story where an older "gentleman," began arguing with a young lady (not my wife) because she was trying to take a spot that had been marked off in front of his house by means of a bucket in the street.

She was pregnant.

For now, I am leaving out my interpretation of my own judgement of what people were doing. The pictures I'm posting are garish; they were taken at night and I tried to squeeze in between cars on the other side of these respective streets to get a face forward view of what I was seeing. The light from the flash is harsh. Up to this point, none of these are edited (I will do cropping etc later). I think it just provides a stark reminder of how folks can be in this city.

As a post script, it didn't help that the mayor encouraged this behavior. It's mentioned on a story you can read by clicking here; it's about a woman who had her tires slashed for moving a trash can.

You can check out more of the MySpace pictures by clicking here (or the link on the title of this post)

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Template

Hi Everyone,

So I've been completely out (of the game) for quite some time now.

Short list of what's happened (if you don't know this, maybe we haven't talked in a while).

I quit working at Allstate.
I started back to school full time.
We found out we're having a little boy (due December).
I complete two semesters worth of Ancient Hebrew.

I hope to read a bit over the next couple of weeks. In addition, I have a goal of riding my bike 200 miles over the next thirty days.

So...is anyone reading this anymore?